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WFP seeks $75m in aid for Rohingyas

Unicef wants $76.1m for children

A Correspondent | October 03, 2017 00:00:00

COX'S BAZAR, Oct 02: World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley has reiterated his agency's commitment to supporting people fleeing violence in Myanmar as he met refugee families and saw its relief activities in new settlements in Cox's Bazar.

Mr Beasley has also appealed for $ 75 million in emergency aid over the next six months to help ease sufferings of the Rohingya people fleeing violence in Myanmar.

He made the appeal while speaking at a press conference held at the hall room of Sayman Beach Resort in Cox's Bazar town on Sunday evening.

The WFP executive director also said his organisation will provide food support to more than 0.5 million Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh from Rakhine state in Myanmar until they are repatriated.

"I heard heart-breaking stories on Sunday speaking to people who ran for their lives and saw loved ones killed before their eyes. These horrors must be stopped. Many of these people were receiving WFP food assistance in Myanmar. Now they will receive WFP food assistance in Bangladesh," Mr Beasley said.

During his maiden visit to Bangladesh after he assumed office in April, Mr Beasley saw a WFP food distribution in an area adjacent to Kutupalong refugee camp where hundreds of thousands of people have settled in makeshift shelters over the past month.

He toured 2,000 acres area that has been allocated by the government to accommodate new arrivals. He also saw a WFP e-voucher shop where registered-refugees redeem monthly electronic food vouchers.

"The world leaders need to do everything possible to pressure the Myanmar government and other actors into solving the problem diplomatically so that the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar can go back home," David Beasley said. He also lauded Bangladesh for providing shelter for Rohingya refugees.

A UNB report adds: The Unicef is launching a US$76.1 million appeal for its emergency humanitarian response to the Rohingya refugee crisis in southern Bangladesh.

The appeal will cover the immediate needs of newly-arrived Rohingya children, as well as those who arrived before the recent influx, and children from vulnerable host communities -- 720,000 children in all.

Up to 60 per cent of the 500,000-plus Rohingyas who have fled Myanmar since August 25 are estimated to be children.

Most are now living in harsh and unsanitary conditions in makeshift camps and settlements spread across the district of Cox's Bazar.

"Desperate, traumatised children and their families are fleeing the violence in Myanmar every day. We are scaling up our response as fast as we can, but the magnitude of need is immense and we must be able to do more to help them," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, who is visiting southern Bangladesh was quoted as saying in a statement UNB received on Monday.

Meanwhile, Switzerland has reiterated its commitments to support Bangladesh and provide humanitarian assistance in view of the Rohingya crisis saying the challenges they witness in Bangladesh are unprecedented in nature.

The team of the Swiss Government for Humanitarian Aid and Deputy Director General of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Ambassador Manuel Bessler conveyed Switzerland's position on Monday.

Bessler is currently in Bangladesh on a five-day visit to obtain a first-hand impression of the latest influx of the displaced Rohingya population into Cox's Bazar and the related humanitarian crisis.

He has already visited a number of Rohingya settlements in Cox's Bazar and met with relevant stakeholders during the trip.

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